English theologian, biblical scholar, and philosopher. Fellow and Chaplain, Trinity College, Oxford, 1935-60; Warden, Keble College, 1960-68. Author of numerous books, including The Freedom of the Will, The Glass of Vision, Finite and Infinite, God Is Not Dead, Lord I Believe, Faith and Speculation, Saving Belief, and Reflective Faith. Also famous as a Christian preacher of unusual power and depth.
Philip Curtis, A Hawk among Sparrows: A Biography of Austin Farrer. London: SPCK, 1985.
Charles Hefling, Jacob's Ladder: Theology and Spirituality in the Thought of Austin Farrer. Cambridge, MA: Cowley, 1979.
David Hein and Edward Hugh Henderson, eds., Captured by the Crucified: The Practical Theology of Austin Farrer. New York and London: T & T Clark / Continuum, 2004.
The son of a Baptist minister, Farrer was ordained an Anglican priest at Oxford where he served as chaplain and fellow of several colleges.
In an era when systematic theology had largely become divorced from biblical analysis, Farrer challenged form and source criticism's fragmentation of the gospels by proposing that the evangelists be treated as authors rather than editors.
Farrer identified Deuteronomy as the inspiration of Luke's design for his teaching section and argued that the composition of the latter was less problematic than others had claimed.
Farrer, who died in 1968, was a fine philosopher and religious thinker, in the words of Rowan Williams "possibly the greatest Anglican mind of the twentieth century".
One other legacy from Farrer's Biblical criticism has stayed with me from the first moment I encountered it in a library in Oxford some years ago, and it is his wonderful and disparaging use of the term "paragraph criticism" as a means of describing the work of the form-critics.
Farrer was really well ahead of his years here, not only in showing some scepsis for the obsession with pericopae that characterised the work of the form-critics, but in anticipating not only redaction-criticism but also narrative-criticism, as Jeff Peterson recently argued.
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